Surrey fire crews battling barge blaze near river (Surrey fire department/Instagram)

UPDATE: Fire crews battling Lower Mainland barge blaze, expected to burn all day

Smoke fills the air on the Fraser River

Surrey fire crews are battling a huge blaze on a barge of scrap cars on the Fraser River.

On Friday morning, the area was blanketed in smoke, and the smell of burning tires filled the air for miles around.

Crews are attacking the flames from the water as well as land.

The barge appears to be the one operated by the Amix salvage company, near Pattullo Bridge.

The fire broke out on the fully loaded, 76-metre barge as it was moored just north of the bridge.

A fireboat from Vancouver was called because firefighters in Surrey could not attack the worst of the flames near the front of the vessel, farthest from shore.

Officials say the fire has worked its way deep into the load of vehicles, and the thick, black smoke represents the burning oil, tires, seats, dashboards and other materials in the crushed vehicles.

The fire was expected to burn much of the day because upper levels of the load needed to be removed to be able to get water on the fire below.

A tweet from Metro Vancouver regional district says anyone affected by the considerable smoke should stay indoors, close all windows and follow the directions of a health-care provider if symptoms are experienced.

with files from Canadian Press

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